Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Past Poetry and Personal Progress (and Kitty Cats and Rainbows!)
This morning while I was cleaning I ran across a folder I've been keeping for years - 14 years, to be exact. For 14 years I've had this thing in my possession, and for 14 years I've thumbed through the contents each time I've run across it... but this morning, I sat down with the intent to sort through everything that was hidden away in the pockets of the (cheesy rainbow kitty cat covered) folder. Ah, old poetry! What a treasure it is to be able to look back at my old writings and see how far I've come!
This folder is full of poetry I wrote when I was 18 years old. Some of the poems are quite good, if I do say so myself - haha! but some of them are full of rambling thoughts about how terrified I was to be alone, and the words drip with desperation and confusion... of longing for things I can't have, and lamenting losses that I should have been rejoicing over. Hindsight is 20/20. I find it so interesting to be able to look back at the person I used to be and to realize that I had no identity whatsoever unless it was tied up in someone else.
Let me just share one of these poems with you so you can can get an idea of how sick I was. I knew my issues but I didn't know how to fix them:
"Obsessed" (written 02-02-1996)
I have a slight tendency
to become emotionally attached
to people who simply
acknowledge my existence
So if I were you
I'd be extremely attentive
to the things I said to me
because there's a really good chance
I'll become obsessed
Interesting, huh? I thank God that I saved all of this poetry, because it is a gentle reminder of how much progress I've made since I first knew that I needed to make changes in the way I lived. I distinctly remember writing this particular poem. I remember thinking, "Oh. My. God. I. Need. Help." The old me (quite selfishly) believed that by living for everyone else, I was doing the world a favor. The old me believed that if I wrote you enough poetry or sang you the perfect song or bought you the perfect gift or begged you to understand how much I loved you, I would be protected from losing you. The old me thought that obsession and smothering equaled love. The new me understands that there is nothing further from the truth. The new me understands that by nurturing myself and pursuing my own interests, I am enriching my own life, thereby giving myself permission to love you without conditional restraints because I'm already happy and I don't have to depend on you to give me that happiness and security. The new me understands that obsession is not love, it's fear.
I can look back on my life and see so many mistakes, but the beauty in being able to do this is in knowing that I can learn and grow from the experiences. Just as I used the reminder of certain pain in my past to garner the strength to stand up for myself in current relationships, I can use the reminder of the sickness in this poetry to find the strength to draw healthy boundaries and refrain from obsessing and fear of abandonment.
Oh, the lessons I've learned in recent weeks! It's been a roller coaster, but I'm grateful for it because I've gained so much insight into who I was and who I am now... and most importantly who I want to be. Another little victory! The little victories certainly add up... What are you learning from digging through your past? Are you celebrating a victory today? (And do you have any awesomely brilliant rainbow kitty cat folders of your own? I want to see some pics, people! Ha!)
Until next time... happy healing!